City of Valley East

With no railroad, few farms, and two mines active for only a few years in the southern part of Blezard Township, it is not easy today to understand what could have attracted pioneers to Valley East at the turn of the century.  The secret is well concealed beneath the lawns and flowerbeds of homes in this residential town in the form of good sandy yellow soil, ideal for agriculture.  It was this soil that attracted the pioneers to the Townships of Blezard, Hanmer and Capreol and enabled them to feed the population of Sudbury for many years.

The Catholic Church was in the area from the outset to support them.  Several villages formed around church towers including Blezard Valley, Hanmer, Val Caron, and Val Thérèse.  The church would play a leading role in the social and economic development of Valley East.  The Protestant churches would come much later, after the transformation of Valley East from an agricultural community to a residential town with major demographic changes.

It was the townships that organized themselves into municipalities rather than the villages (Hanmer in 1904 with Mr. Onésime Dubois as the first reeve, Blezard Valley in 1906 with Mr. Moise Labelle as the first mayor and much later, the Township of Capreol in 1956).  Though this made it possible to broaden the tax base for the development of services, it also gave rise to many rivalries and parochial squabbles.  The situation was often exacerbated by the lack of passable roads, which meant that the services located in a village were not readily accessible to all.

Retail businesses and firms, including some arising out of the co-operative movement, came into being.  Local transport companies played a vital role in this community though the first road linking Blezard Valley and Sudbury was not built until 1920. (It is said that the contractor was paid by the mile, which would explain the many unnecessary curves in this road!)  These companies also provided transportation between the various villages as well as school transportation.

Once life became easier, sports were organized to occupy spare time and activities that originally were essential to survival, such as hunting and fishing, became leisure activities and attracted new residents to the community.

Over the years, the villages of Valley East would go through several amalgamations, either sought by the population, or imposed by governments.

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